I started this blog in 2011, pregnant with my 2nd son and feeling a bit lonely and wanting a hobby. I didn’t expect it to be something I would become so passionate about, that would enable me to make new friends, have some amazing opportunities and more importantly, something that would be so beneficial to my mental health.
In 2020 I had to step away. Reluctantly but feeling like I had no other choice. Something that was so good for my mental health all of a sudden became something bad for my mental health. The reason being two people who had no other reason to look at my blog and my Instagram other than to invade my privacy on a personal level due to real life connections. although I understand and accept that this is an open, public space, there are boundaries which were crossed and it was unhealthy of them to read this and look at my Instagram at the hours they were, for the length of time they were, and despite being blocked on Instagram then using other accounts and creating other accounts to look. Photos of mine downloaded (including one of when I was pregnant), photos of mine copied (pose, hair style and caption). I couldn't understand why these two women would do that. I couldn’t, and still can’t, understand the benefits they got from that. There aren’t any. As much as I try and analyse it and work out why I cannot come up with any positive reason for it.
As a result this didn’t feel like my safe space anymore.
I was battling this alone.
“Take it as a compliment”
“They’re just jealous”
“Imitation is the highest form of flattery”
“Just goes to show they don’t have much going on in their lives”
This. Is. Not. Ok.
No one should feel like they are being spied on. Like they have to watch what they write or post due to being watched, having photos downloaded or copied. It was a complete invasion of privacy and I felt uncomfortable, dirty, alone and crazy.
I constantly questioned if I was seeing this wrong? Was I over reacting? Was this behaviour excusable and was it actually ok?
I had all this evidence. Posts I’d put on my Instagram story to see if I was right about what would happen next and I was right. So much evidence but no support.
My outlet for mental health, my hobby, my head was invaded and I couldn’t take it anymore. If they weren’t going to stop then I had no choice but to stop myself.
It broke my heart.
They felt like squatters who wouldn’t leave so instead I had to.
I placed a lot of my posts into draft, set my Instagram to private, ended up losing my URL, and lost out on all those opportunities I’d had and worked hard on for years.
The space that has been there for me through a traumatic birth, the early years of my children’s lives, my divorce, for documenting the new stage of my life and “re-birth”, during my mental health battles and the times I’d succeeded, the inspiration I’d given others and myself felt burnt to the ground.
I spoke on a panel at work recently and was introduced as an active mental health blogger. I knew this was going to be said but I felt too embarrassed and ashamed to say “I haven’t blogged for 3 years because 2 women won the battle and I lost”. Embarrassed and ashamed to say I had lost my power to them.
I said on the panel about reminding yourself of the things you do that help your mental health and well-being and if you feel yourself slipping to make sure you do those things. A voice in my head shouted “FOLLOW YOUR OWN ADVICE!”.
And so now, refreshed. Stronger. With power. I’m going back to something I love.
My therapy. My outlet. My own space which I will not allow to be invaded again.
It won’t be the same as it was before. Opportunities and the whole world of blogging is so different now but I need to do this for me.
And you know what, if those two women find this again with the slightly adjusted url (who needs a .co anyway?!) then welcome. I see you.
You have no power over me.